Better Than Ezra

Friction, Baby

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On their second album, Friction, Baby, Better Than Ezra becomes a bit more ambitious than they were with their debut album, Deluxe. Lead singer Kevin Griffin's lyrics are more detailed and brooding, moving the band closer to its doom-laden post-grunge contemporaries. The problem is, Griffin doesn't have anything particularly original to say, nor does he have an original way to say it. Better Than Ezra were never particularly good with melody -- their breakthrough hit, "Good," was catchy because of a vocal tic, not a melodic phrase -- but Friction, Baby is almost completely devoid of hooks and melodies, which makes Griffin's gloomy lyrics even harder to stomach. In its favor, Better Than Ezra are developing a stronger, tighter group sound, but it's hard to ignore how thoroughly mediocre most of the music on this record actually is.

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